Friday, August 31, 2012

Hood to Coast Leg #1 aka Leg #6

For some reason I am having a terrible time recapping this race.  I don't know why.  It's never happened to me before. The weekend was so awesome and I met so many fabulous people and had fun running 17 miles and it's like too many things happened to even put into words.  I'm having a serious case of writer's block, people.  But, the race started nearly a week ago already, and it's freaking time I got it documented and sadly, moved on with my life.  I guess.  If I have to.

So maybe we'll go with mostly a "story of pictures"?  Whatd'ya say?

On Friday morning our late start (more on that later) granted us a luxurious wake-up call of 7am.  We loaded up the vans and were off to Oregon!  In case you're confused, our group team name is "Afternuun Delight" but each of the 3 teams were further designated into "Team Morning" (us!), "Team Noon", and "Team Night".

Since we love food though, "Team Morning" quickly became "Team Breakfast":

And since "Team Morning" Van 1 and "Team Noon" Van 1 seemed to be together nearly the entire race (that was a blast - so glad it worked out that way!) - our conglomerate quickly became "Team Brunch". Yeah, we're clever.

Team Brunch at the end of the race

After a few hours in the van (the first of MANY), we finally got a glimpse of that oh-so-glorious mountain: Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood. 

Isn't it lovely?  Shouldn't this be a magazine cover?  Don't you love our Team Sparkle skirts?!
My awesome van: Corey, Jess, Tricia, Stephanie, & Nuunie Caitlin

Tricia started getting ready for her first leg and the rest of us started getting ready for the whole race with our Nuun tattoos (the most important part of course!):

Corey rocking the tattoo application

We also made it our mission to Nuun-tattoo as many people as possible, and taking some notes from The Amazing Race the day before - aimed for as many "odd" looking people as possible.  Good strategy, right?

Being the last leg of your van definitely has it's disadvantages.  On this first leg I was ITCHING to run.  I was seriously dying of jealousy every time another teammate took off.  It was killing me to wait all that time, but finally, FINALLY, Molly and I (my leg 6 counterpart on Team Noon) took to the starting blocks corral. 

Friday, August 24, 6:20pm - Just late enough to have to wear the reflective vests / headlamps / LED flashers even though it was broad daylight.

And we were off!  Molly is ragingly fast and passed me within the first 10 seconds of the race.  Two people passed me and I passed two people for a sad net gain of 0 (but we don't worry about net, only gross matters, right?!). 

We had a nice jaunt down the highway that led into Sandy, Oregon, where the first major exchange was waiting there at the Safeway parking lot.  This was to be my longest leg, which I was very happy to get done with first, however I was pretty nervous going in because my glute acts up on 6 mile runs, so how was it going to react to not 1, not 2, but THREE 6 mile runs???!!!

Surprisingly it seemed to do okay.  It was hot out (high 70's) in the blazing direct sun and I was at max effort, so the main concern was my heart rate / breathing the entire time - so that was plenty to think about.

Total Distance: 6.71 miles   Total Time: 52:24   Average Pace: 7:49
Splits: 8:06, 7:47, 8:05, 8:00, 7:37, 7:35, 7:20

Look at all those 7's!  Yeah yeah yeah, the downhill:

Total elevation gain of 165 feet, 526 feet of loss

The route was net downhill by a decent amount, with some rolling hills that are difficult to see in the elevation map since the scale is so large.  But you can likely see that the first mile was warm-up, second mile downhill, 3rd and 4th miles slight uphill, and last 3 miles downhill. 

I was all alone for the last 3 miles - could not see a single runner in sight in front of or behind me, and that was very unnerving because there were NO signs and NO volunteers directing me where to go (or confirming I was on the right track!).  Once I got into Sandy there were a few annoying stoplights and I got to run past a bunch of people eating at bars outside who all cheered for me - which was funny.

And before I knew it - I was sprinting into the exchange:

And then I handed off to Erin on Van 2 and we were all done with our first set of legs!  I immediately walked as much as I could before we left and stretched my glute / hamstring out - which was the story of the whole trip.  I rolled it with the lacrosse ball a bit too, and used Bengay a few times, and it seemed to keep the problem under control.  I'm on a break now from running though - in case you wanted a bit of a spoiler alert!

And that was my 1st leg / Leg #6 of Hood to Coast!  Next up: dinner and my 2nd leg - the night one!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pre Hood to Coast Festivities

So now you’ve heard about my lost cat and how awesome and how generous Nuun is.  Now let’s get down to brass tax and talk the nitty gritty details of Hood to Coast.  Sorry folks, I’m sure you’re getting recaps right and left from everyone and their mom, but these recaps aren’t just for you, they’re for me too to read in the future, so you’re getting the deets.  Come back next week if you’re tired of HTC talk. 

First let’s talk pre-race festivities.  The true fun started on Wednesday with a Mariners game and other shenanigans, but since I just got a new job I unfortunately could no longer attend the Wednesday fun – orientation instead for me. 

So the fun for me started on Thursday with a stop at the airport to pick up Katie and Harmony, and then headed to Nuun Headquarters for THE AMAZING RACE.  Since I’m obsessed with that show and am dying to be on it it was very fitting I finally got to participate in an amazing race of my own.  

Look what a stacked team we are!  Tonia, Vanessa, Harmony, me, XLMIC, & Stephanie

There were many locations and / or activities to do, taking pictures the whole time.  But since Lindsay wasn’t on our team and I’m no true Seattle-ite, we didn’t really know how to get around the city quickly to get to all the locations in the time allotted.   

What animal exactly do you think this is????  It likes Nuun, that's for sure.

So we mostly focused on the bonus points: Nuun-tattooing as many random people as we could.

 Harmony is so awesome and such a good sport!

Brave Stephanie even tatt-ed up this guy:

And the other bonus point method: finding as many pigs in Seattle as we could.

And guess what?  WE WON!  I couldn’t believe it, but apparently all those pigs really paid off.

After the race we headed back to the office for a solid carb-tastic dinner and some van decorating.  We definitely didn’t win any artistic competitions but we had fun all the same.

And then we were off to the hotel for a fitful night of sleep before our 7am wake-up call (for Van 1’s) to head up to the mountain.  Come back later to hear about the mountain and Leg 1!

And extra special thanks to the following sponsors for making our Hood to Coast experience extra awesome: 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Nuun, THANK YOU!

Oh. My. Gosh.  Where do I even begin to recap Hood to Coast?  It was truly an epic, amazing, awesome, wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity kind of weekend.  And I owe it all to Nuun Hydration – not only the best hydration company ever, but quite possibly the best company ever.  

Nuun Hydration is truly a place that I would want to work.  In fact, I may have dropped a few hints here and there about how they probably REALLY need a “Director of Educational Programs” or something!  You know – someone who goes out to schools and tells kids about the horrors of dehydration??!!  Don’t you think they need someone like that?!

But seriously, every Nuun employee I came into contact with was AWESOME, everyone was generous, a good sport, supportive, etc., etc., ETC.  I wish I’d gotten to chat with more of the Nuun-ies, but I was especially impressed with Caitlin (not only superstar organizer extraordinaire but also incredible amazing runner-of-the-hardest-legs), Jay (best-van-driver-of-all-time and owner of the most awesome Boston accent ever), Casey (second-best-van-driver-of-all-time and king of the cheerleaders), and Mason (Nuun CEO and running expert). 

I owe everyone a ginormous THANK YOU, but thank you alone doesn’t seem to cut it.  I am so thankful to Nuun for picking me and allowing me the opportunity to spend the weekend with them running, eating dried mangoes, drinking Nuun, meeting other lovely runners from around the country, smelling up their vans, and in general having a wonderful time.  

If you’re not into the everyone-posting-about-Hood-to-Coast for weeks on end kind of thing, I understand.  My recaps are likely to go and on and on and ON.  So if you choose not to come back until they’re done, I understand.  But if you read any, read this one: Nuun Hydration ROCKS.  If you have a choice, choose Nuun.  Not only because their product is great (which I truly believe) but also because their company is great.  It’s a place we’d all love to work.  


So about that Director of Educational Programs position….????!!!! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Find Your Lost Cat: Don't Despair

Last Monday our often evil cat Henry went missing.  I have since revised my statement about him being evil since I was devastated by the loss, depressed  much of the week, and was certain of his imminent demise.

You see, Henry is 100% an indoor cat.  He is also 100% scared of EVERYTHING.  When people come over to our house he hides the ENTIRE time.  He likes to go in the backyard but never leaves the patio because he’s scared of grass.  He also doesn’t really like to be out there if Cooper and I aren’t out there too.  He’s even kind of scared of JMan even though he’s lived with us nearly two years, since he was a kitten.

Though JMan does sometimes try and shoot the cat with a bow and arrow.  So maybe Henry being frightened of him is warranted.

Anyway, last Monday I had gotten up earlier than normal to get to work and get all caught up on a bunch of things I was behind on.  So I let Henry and Cooper out into the backyard like normal – and Henry wandered around on the patio like normal.  That is, until the sprinklers went off.  Since I was up earlier than normal, Henry had never been outside before when they went off.  And he FREAKED.  All I heard was a big thud which I assume was him ramming into the screen door trying to get inside, and then he was gone.  

At first I wasn’t that worried.  I looked for him everywhere I could, and figured he’d come right back.  JMan and I drove around the neighborhood looking for him – called for him, and I stayed home from work as long as I could waiting for him to come back.  But as the time passed the more worried I got.  He’d never been outside unsupervised before, never left our backyard before, never even left our backyard PATIO before, had never encountered another cat, squirrels, raccoons, other dogs besides Cooper, etc.  I was WORRIED.

But I went off to work, and hoped he’d be back when I got home.  But he wasn’t.  But this story has a happy ending, and he did come back, but not for a FULL WEEK folks.  So this is a story less about how to find your cat, since none of my tactics really actually worked (except waiting), but more of a story about not despairing.  Because I COMPLETELY despaired, and thought he was probably dead.  But HE CAME BACK.  

So here’s how to find your lost cat:

1)  Look!  Obviously.  I was a crazy person about looking.  I completed only one workout last week (besides Hood to Coast) because all I did was walk around the neighborhood calling and looking for Henry.  Even the one workout I did involved a 6 mile run around the neighborhood looking for Henry.  I looked morning (before work), evening (after work), and night (right before bed when it was dark and quiet and he was most likely to come out).  I called (here kitty kitty kitty kitty), jangled his toy which makes noise, and meowed (we have this thing where I meow and he meows back).  He never came.  Annnddd the neighbors definitely think I'm crazy now.

2) Put up signs.  I put up signs the very night he went missing.  I kept them mostly to our close-by neighborhood though.  When he wasn’t back by Wednesday (2 days later), I put up more signs in the surrounding neighborhood areas.  Not one person called though, and I think our neighbors would call if they saw him.  So he was HIDING and seriously no one saw him. 

JMan thought it would've been better if we'd removed the "tag" part of the "rabies tag":

3)  Put out food.   

4)  Better yet - put out STRONG SMELLING food. 

5)  Listen at night - when it's dark and quiet and the cat is most likely to come out of its hiding spot. 

6)  Check Craigslist and your local shelter / vet.  This is more likely to apply if your cat is a wanderer.  I was pretty certain no one was actually harboring my cat – I was mostly just worried he was going to starve to death or die of thirst because he was too afraid to come out of his hiding place.

7)  Wait.  Be patient.  Don’t give up hope.  Cats have survival skills (apparently) and can last longer than you’d think without food or water.  They’re scared and they probably won’t respond to your calls even if they normally do.  They’re probably close by (some say a 3 house radius for scared indoor cats, bigger if they’re outdoor cats).

 He's alive!

I was SO hoping Henry was going to be there when I came home from Hood to Coast Sunday evening.  But he wasn’t.  And that made me REALLY sad.  But it did appear that some of the food I’d put out had been eaten.  This gave me hope, even though obviously it wasn’t certain that it was actually HENRY that ate the food and not some other animal.  But then, later when I went to get the mail, I saw something move around my neighbor’s bush.  And a flash of white.  AND THEN I SAW HIM!  He was there! 
It really looked like he might have been headed home anyway.  He appeared to be very frightened and wouldn’t really let me approach him.  I herded him under a car and a few other places before he finally went in our backyard and then in the backdoor I’d left open.  HE WAS HOME HOORAY!  
And was he every glad to be home.  Given that he’s often evil and not that friendly, he was exceedingly loving and meowing and wanting to lay in my lap and be petted.  He wouldn’t leave me alone!  We’re joined at the hip.  

And that’s how an awesome weekend became even more awesome.  If you’re reading this because your cat is lost, I HOPE YOU FIND HIM!  And Hood to Coast tomorrow, I promise.

Have you ever lost your cat?  How did you find him?  Any suggestions to add to this list?